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A video posted by Los Angeles-based celebrity Chef Andrew Gruel is going viral after he expressed the frustrations tens of thousands of small business owners are dealing with as a result of government responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Amid reports of a coronavirus surge, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued regional stay-at-home orders last week for worst-hit areas while announcing a three-week lockdown that will require restaurants to shut down all outdoor dining.
Angry and defiant, Gruel responded by declaring in the video he will not shut down outdoor dining at his Slapfish and Big Parm eateries, and to emphasize his point he called Newsom “an *sshole.”
“Okay, I’ve got everybody blowing up my replies right now, saying I’m a grandmother-killer, and that we don’t take this pandemic seriously. So I’m just going to address it all right here, so that I actually don’t have to individually go back and forth and box with every single one of these fake accounts,” the chef said.
My message for all the haters. Please share the logic. Sorry, haven’t had a haircut since March. pic.twitter.com/SOjy3bt4l5
— Chef Andrew Gruel (@ChefGruel) December 3, 2020
While stressing he takes the pandemic seriously, the former star of Food Network’s Food Truck Face Off said outdoor dining should not be closed.
“At every single juncture along the way here, from the beginning shut-down to today, we’ve listened to all of the advice from our government officials, only to be shut down over and over and over again, and then not compensated for the elements that we put in place in our businesses in order to protect our customers,” Gruel explained.
“We shut down indoor dining. No problem. I got a warehouse full of plexiglass right now. OK?” he continued. “We went outdoors. All right? Now that’s getting shut down. I just put thousands of dollars into outdoor heaters.”
Just spent thousands on these outdoor heat lamps. Will be dropping these off at my local gov office for a full refund plus 10% interest. pic.twitter.com/wK5FgvchJc
— Chef Andrew Gruel (@ChefGruel) December 3, 2020
Falling back on the “science” behind the decision, Gruel said there is none.
“There is zero scientific evidence that proves that outdoor dining is contributing to a rise in cases related to this,” he said.
“I am only saying that we are going to continue dining outdoors, because I can get on an airplane and I can fly and eat and do whatever I want — and don’t tell me it’s the HEPA filters, because that’s not the case. You don’t turn those on until you get onto the plane. Before that, everybody’s fornicating on top of each other,” Gruel went on. “I can go into Walmart — heck, I don’t even have to wear pants — nobody wears a mask at Walmart. I can go get a pink cockatoo for my Christmas tree, but I can’t go and dine outdoors at a restaurant. I can go to Target. Amazon is making a ton of money. All big businesses getting rich.”
He concluded by refusing to comply with Newsom’s order, sharing what he thinks of the heavy-handed Democratic governor in responses to how some are reacting.
“Outdoor dining does not lead to any of that, therefore screw that,” Gruel said. “We’re staying open outdoors. It’s that simple. I’m not an a**hole, the governor is.”
In a follow-up video posted on Friday, Gruel called out the hypocrisy of government officials, to include Gov. Newsom, of not following the orders they are not following — he cited Newson’s intimate dinner recently with 22 people. Indoors.
Another update from the mind of a business owner being shutdown. pic.twitter.com/z7AHWoQuxD
— Chef Andrew Gruel (@ChefGruel) December 4, 2020
“We’re being told to do one thing when the people telling us to do that aren’t even following their own rules,” he said in the video. “There is no science backing up that eating outdoors is leading to a spike in coronavirus cases.”
“You see the hypocrisy. Really think about this here: No one is following their own rules. How serious can those rules be if they’re not following their own rules?” Gruel asked. “Virtue Signaling.”
As for responses, he replied to a social media user telling him to “be a good neighbor and shut down” for the sake of healthcare workers, to explain his decision.
“This isn’t a [COVID-19] denying defiance,” Gruel wrote. “I just believe more people will jam indoors if we send them away with takeout versus our wide-open patio. We are fast causal not a service restaurant.”
He also agreed with the notion that businesses should be compensated for the cost of trying to comply with government mandates that keep changing.
— Chef Andrew Gruel (@ChefGruel) December 5, 2020
Angela Marsden, the owner of the Pineapple Hill Grill & Saloon, also located in Los Angeles, posted her own video that went viral, blasting Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gov. Newsom.
Marsden tearfully explained, “I’m losing everything,” calling attention to the mayor approving a movie company to feed the cast outside — which was set up 50 feet from her now-closed outdoor seating area.
As for staying open, Chef Gruel appears to have company — although, a Staten Island bar owner is having a helluva time fighting Mayor Bill de Blasio’s city hall in New York City, even getting arrested for violating pandemic restrictions.
Dave Foldes is keeping outdoor dining open at Cronie’s Sports Grill in Agoura Hills. He says his staff can’t survive without it, and he doesn’t have the heart to lay them off before Christmas. He says @lapublichealth just pulled his permits, & fined him $1,500 today. @FOXLA pic.twitter.com/RaoizGYKA2
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) December 3, 2020
Here’s a quick sampling of responses in support of Gruel’s position from Twitter:
Two incontrovertible truths we’ve learned in the coronavirus era:
1.) Viruses are gonna virus
2.) Tyrants are gonna tyrant
— Scott Morefield (@SKMorefield) December 3, 2020
Righteous indignation. Stay the fight, sir.
— Chicago News Bench (CNB)™ (@ChiNewsBench) December 4, 2020
Thank you for standing up. Stay brave and stay open.
— 🇺🇸 Riley 🇺🇸 (@riley1999) December 5, 2020
I support you, your family, your business, and the other small businesses that are being impacted by this without being given an alternative by the officials shutting it down after everything that was asked was complied with
— Wendy O supports small businesses and trades BTC (@CryptoWendyO) December 3, 2020
Andrew you are a very passionate well spoken person. It is most difficult times. Wishing you the very best as you do the best you can for your family n business.
— Amy (@ascott1838) December 3, 2020
Really feeling for you, Chef. I hope they listen. Up in NYC outdoor dining is just about implausible anyway because it’s too cold. SoCal much different.
— Chef Berry (@Confit81) December 4, 2020
If they were being honest you could open indoor dining with no problem.
When they saw that people would follow their rules so easily they simply kept arbitrarily making more that made no difference. NONE of these idiotic mandates have made a dent in cases, and none will.
— Darrin Cothran (@Darrincothran) December 4, 2020
the governor is not an asshole.. He’s a dictator.. we are going to have fight this..
— 𝐆𝐫𝐞𝐠𝐠 𝐏𝐫𝐨𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐫® (@eggpro1975) December 3, 2020
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